US likely to start Covid vax for kids under age 5 by June 21

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s committee of independent experts are slated to meet on June 15 to review data on Pfizer and Moderna's Covid shots for infants.
US likely to start Covid vax for kids under age 5 by June 21
Representative imageIANS

WASHINGTON: The US is expected to roll out Covid vaccinations for children under age 5 as early as June 21, the media reported.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s committee of independent experts are slated to meet on June 15 to review data on Pfizer and Moderna's Covid shots for infants.

According to Dr Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, the Joe Biden administration will initially make 10 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available to states, pharmacies and community health centres, CNBC reported.

While the states can begin placing orders, the vaccine doses will ship only after the FDA authorises the shots, Jha was quoted as saying.

Soon after the FDA approval, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention would issue its recommendations, which would allow vaccinations to begin after the Juneteenth federal holiday, he added.

"We're going to ship doses out as fast as possible," Jha told reporters during White House press briefing.

"We're going to make sure that supply is always meeting demand. And we're going to do everything we can to make it easy for providers and parents alike to get their kids vaccinated."

Parents have been waiting months for the FDA to authorise the shots for kids under age 5, which is the only group left in the US not eligible for Covid vaccination, the report said.

Though Covid is normally less severe in children than adults, hospitalisations of kids under age 5 were five times higher during the winter omicron surge compared to the peak during the previous delta wave, the CDC data showed.

Pfizer's three-dose vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years old has shown to be 80 per cent effective at preventing illness from the Omicron variant.

On the other hand, Moderna's two-dose vaccine is about 51 per cent effective against infection from Omicron in children under 2 and about 37 per cent effective among those in 2 to 5 age group.

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